Co-construction as complex adaptive system

  • Salil Sayed
  • Abhigyan Singh
  • Joanna Saad-Sulonen
  • Lily Diaz
Keywords: Community Information, User Ontology, Complex Adaptive Systems


The term User in the literature on co-construction of users and technology often implies the represented user rather than the person in question. While a representation of the user has instrumental value, the persons in body and flesh remain to be explored. When focusing on them we find that the correlation between their life and their use of technology is not of a linear causal nature such as a perceived need leading to a particular use. Instead we show that the causal structure is emergent through their entanglement as can be explained with the conceptual framework of complex adaptive systems. We further argue that the agency is located / embodied in the simultaneous top-down and bottom-up constraints that bound such a system. In this paper we present the ethnographic account of the becoming of a particular user, a girl living in an urban slum in India and her use of multiple phones in terms of emergent complex adaptive system.
How to Cite
Sayed, S., Singh, A., Saad-Sulonen, J., & Diaz, L. (2011). Co-construction as complex adaptive system. The Journal of Community Informatics, 6(2). Retrieved from